Friday, December 2, 2011

An Update and get my Query outta here (and onto an agent's desk).

Just a note about what's been happening. I stopped querying for about two weeks. I wanted to go back in and rework the first page.
I read HOOKED by Les Edgerton and got crazy inspired to slash my page of any extraneous exposition.(as much as I held the belief, the story needed the info upfront to grab an agent and/or reader). "The important thing is that what you open with presents a question that the reader will want to answer."
You want to get the reader asking questions. Lead them, delicately, and then hook 'em Danno. I Highly recommend this book.

Looking in on it now, it reads crispy, clear and, gosh the pressure. That first paragraph may be all you get--it's got to sing. You think with my singing experience I'd be able to do this easily. But I spent two days (half-days) staring at that first page. Moving things here...moving there -- Um, what if that was just the biggest mistake I've ever made...I'd better put that back. Take this description out, not another adverb -- The pressure.

Yes, the advice to put your work away and go for a walk for a few days or weeks is sound. When you return--those quiet voices are clearer to hear over all the doubt that sets in from over-thinking things.
Singing as in improvising, and I do sing Jazz, must come from the intuitive heart. Letting go and allowing the creation to flow. Space and time are serving necessary. Hard for an impatient, nervous girlie like me. So this work is Very good for me. I am learning many ways of being, even by the process of trying to become published.

I have to mention.
I did get HOOKED free, along with STORY STRUCTURE ARCHITECT by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, GETTING THE WORDS RIGHT by Theodore Cheney, and HOW TO BE A WRITER by Barbara Baig.
Someone posted a link for all these FREE books. And I put them on my iphone kindle app. If I find the link again I'll post, if the special is ongoing. I retweeted when it came down the line. Another reason to follow me on Twitter--I like to Share.

This weekend I will (to) work on Book #2 in the AbeGale Force series. I'm loving it--it surprises me and it's getting a little creepier than the first. The other characters are having their chance. But it's still in Abegale Anton-Shale's voice.
Oh--another recent development is: I'm now a proud member of SCBWI. YEAH!

Eventually I will have blog post on a regular schedule. Thanks for stopping by. And Congrats to all those participating in #NANOWRIMO. You did it!
May the words always be with you.
Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2011

ABEGALE FORCE New -hopefully improved--Did I raise the stakes?

Abegale’s best friend has a peculiar new landlady, Mrs. Egremony. She runs the “Villas,” for low-income housing. She eats the weeds, dresses like she from the pioneering days, and asks a lot of questions. When she mentions that Abegale’s missing grandmother “is near, but far,” it is now Abegale who wants to ask the questions. Although, it appears Mrs. Egremony has come back to Pine Crest looking for grandmother too.

In sixth-grader Abegale’s quest for answers, she comes across her grandmother’s botanical medicine book and magic cards. Within its pages she reads of a plant that has the power to heal her brother, before his next trip to the hospital becomes his last. She also learns who her grandmother really was. Abegale sets out to find the plant and get answers to her whereabouts for the last three years.

Meanwhile, a crow following Abegale’s every move and deer pretending to be dead, lure Abegale into the woods to face her grandmother’s abandoned cottage. But it isn’t vacant anymore. Horrified by what has taken residence and angry, Abegale vows to rid the town of the cruel new occupants. She explains the environmental impact they could face. Now everyone in all of Three Points is interested. And clearing the cottage may be the only way to bring her grandmother back.

ABEGALE FORCE is a contemporary upper middle-grade mystery with supernatural elements, complete at 80,000 words. In writing this manuscript, I drew on my studies in herbalism, nutrition, and The Tarot, also my experience as a parent of middle-graders.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Query for Critique--(It's always bothered me - I didn't mention Mrs. Egremony in query-this one does. She's the landlady)

Abegale’s best friend has a peculiar new landlady. She dresses like she from the pioneering days, and she asks a lot of questions. When she mentions casually to Abegale that her missing grandmother “is near, but far,” It is now Abegale who wants learn more.

In Abegale’s mission to help an old lady with some favors, she comes across the green medicine book and magic cards her grandmother left behind three years ago. Within its pages, she learns of a plant her grandmother went searching for that could heal her brother’s now severe asthma. She also learns more about who or what her grandmother really was. Abegale sets out to track down the plant and get answers her grandmother’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, some of the animals in Three Points are acting strange and seem to be calling her into the woods, a crow that follows her every move, deer pretending to be dead, and there are the dreams, all pointing Abegale back to face Nam’s abandoned cottage. But it isn’t vacant anymore. Abegale is angered by the transformation of Nam’s home into a foie gras processing plant. With the help of friends and the community they bring the lake town of Three Points together and find a way to remove the occupants before things get worse.

ABEGALE FORCE is a contemporary upper middle-grade mystery with supernatural elements, complete at 80,000 words. In writing this manuscript, I drew on my studies in herbalism, nutrition, and The Tarot, as well as my work as an artist and my experience as a parent of middle-graders.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Monday, October 17, 2011

JM Tohline: The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Li...

JM Tohline: The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Li...: Dear Aspiring Authors, Brew a pot of coffee. Pull up a chair. Heck, grab a notebook and a pen – it couldn't hurt. Make yourself comfortable...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brave New Words: Giveaway of a First Chapter Critique!

Brave New Words: Giveaway of a First Chapter Critique!: Calling all writers! Have you written or started a book? Want some feedback from a professional? We are going to begin monthly giveaways of ...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Short and Sweet

Okay the Querying takes time.
There are so many great agents representing MG and YA. I wind up selecting agents I serendipitously come across, whether from a blog, a tweet or friend. When I think they are looking for exactly what I have written in my MS: upper MG mystery with a little of the supernatural, I send it off. (btw, have first partial out for a peek--Everything is crossed)
But Query On, I must. (kinda fun)

Been wondering if I should have illustrated some of ABEGALE FORCE. Aside from the map of Pine Crest, I haven't. Guess it's not too late. As a kid I didn't always like illustrations in books I was reading. It contradicted what I felt the character should look like. And I still feel realistic photography doesn't belong on book covers--At least the ones with human models. It cheeses out, the book. However, illustrated book covers, are a favorite of mine. I think a drawing can be more suggestive or vague, more elegant.

I might try drawing a little and see how it looks. Hold me to it.

Oh. I'm collecting years of poems, filtering, and really want to get some out...Those are coming soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer comes to a close.

It's been a difficult journey toward writing this summer. My two boys kept ever minute filled and went to bed, much too late. Which kept me up till nearly 2:00 am most nights, just so I could check in with Twitter or Blogs and other writers. I needed to grasp what I could of my creative self.
So here I am, anxious for the first days of the kids school to begin. My list is daunting for the first week and I may have to ebb slowly.

This summer did, bring me an extremely modest, 60 pages of ABEGALE FORCE, number #2.
But my reality check came when, my eleven year asks me,” Why are you writing book two, when you haven't even sold book one?" Ahhh--children. Why? (As I carry my comp. book around to the park or set the alarm to wake me earlier than they do). They're oddly early risers in the summer, even when setting to bed after midnight--Jeesh can't I get a break?

I MUST shout to through the rafters about a GREAT website, and writer's source for everything, created by Ricki Schultz. It's called The Write-Brained Network. http://writebrainednetwork.ning.com/
Ricki, who is amazingly busy, took the time to help critique my Query and she personally responds to any and every question with delight. I got some great assistance, 'cause that's how personalized the WB Network feels--like there are assistants to help--with many writers who are most generous with critiques and help. I won't want to use any other writer's group. Thanks Ricki & The Write-Brained Network.

Okay summer check in: I did manage one hundred new followers on Twitter for my "Writer's platform." That's something. Right? Whether I self-publish or finally find an Agent--because, I barely know what I'm doing around here. I will Love having an Agent...I need a sounding board and some handholding. But I also like to do a lot of homework.
And I can Thank WBN that my Query will be showing a brighter light--now, that I can get to the Heart of my Manuscript. A few more tweaks and I'm good to go. Oh--the journey, the patience, the fortitude. I LOVE this!!! Writing-- this whole damn process, is invigorating.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Frustration abounds. But not too much-- Really.

I feel as if I have a magnet in me sometimes, with high jinx-ing electrical devices.

Yesterday, it all started with my "smartphone" when I tried to restore, or re-sync; or what ever the heck it let me do, before bothering to ask: Was I SURE about this, restoring business? Was I aware of what I stand to loose?
No it did not.
Before I knew; within a click of a button, most data, went --poof!

Maybe I could use a clean up, a reorganizing? But on my own terms; thank you very much.
I know, I should have moved those photos out of camera roll; did I need every comment/tech board reminding me of this? (at least I moved some photos along the way).
Can't be too sentimental, in this case.
No attachments...no attachments.

And, I thought I lost my mobile blogging capabilities. Alas--NEVER.

So, as far as writing is going?
Well. I'm managing #poemaday
Most days. On twitter.
Building a "platform" and gathering followers, and hunting Agents.
It is, terribly engrossing.
Finally decided to use Querytracker.net. May prove very beneficial, especially if some other, magnetic shift, pulls my composition book, out from under me.
I walk around, like a school girl;kids in tow, and the promise (to myself) that, I will work on researching the best agent for this job. Oh, and write in the other comp book,I walk around with; for first draft of second book in AbeGale Force. (Upper Middle Grade Mystery)

Ah. Gotta run. My son has come out of tutoring. (least that's one job I'm off of this summer).
I'll let you know the progress update, as soon as I know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Abegale's Diaries

I'm just working on an IDEA, someone helped me with, which is: Abegale's Blog; or her Diary.

I'm trying to build the ideas around what Abegale did when her father died five years ago. And how she came to live with her Uncle Dave, while her mother recovered in intensive care, and her brother's feelings, from her perspective, of course.

Abegale Anton-Shale can talk about spending this time, getting close to her Grandmother, and about some of the projects they worked on together (herbal potions/wildcrafted teas and medicine). Maybe even the ghostly, or alternative realms of reality; she may have witnessed when she was 8; clouds of the unconscious burst open, into clarity, as she writes.

It's good. This is going to be fun. I'll begin with the eight-year old Abegale and slowly move into present-day Pine Crest. Going farther into her future, is possible too.

News Flash: Abegale having found her old Diaries, will begin to read them from 2020; Earth time. She states in the opening blog.
After all, Abegale didn't have a computer, and she kept her own "Knowledge Book" as her Grandmother kept a book filled with her learnings.
Abegale's book, or Diaries, are filled with her.
Her Blog is under construction. I will post, as soon as the idea has had time to pour forth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Synopsis Finished.

That wasn't so bad. Whesh. I kept putting that one off. Now I can contact agents who want a synopsis along with sample pages. My prospects are growing. The possibilities...well, possible.

I've found the perfect resource through another Great resource, Ricki Schultz at http://www.writebrainednetwork.com/ Free to join.
I cannot wait to delve into all the inspiration and paths to publication this website holds.

But today I must practice for Hosting (and singing) the Jazz Jam open mic for Vocalists, at Zinc Bar tomorrow night.

I may get a little time later today, say, while I'm in the playground with my eleven year old. Thank goodness for smart phones....I never have to end my research on this love of mine--writing!

Monday, June 6, 2011

New June

After a hiatus last week, with Life getting in the way of progress toward turning this MS into a published book; I am back today with focus and determination. The querying will commence. I still don't have my synopsis down, so I will query those Agents, who aren't looking for a synopsis--ha.

This is exciting. I'm ready. Maybe ten today, lets say? And my possessed computer better co-operate--It's been sending colored font for the sample pages--not good. Think anyone will understand I didn't do it on purpose? Not likely.

So wish me luck....da da da daaaa.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Miss Snark's First Victim: Crits and Contests

Miss Snark's First Victim: Crits and Contests

Looks like I got a post number for this critique and contest--#1 --haha.
Let the fun begin and my ego shall be squashed--but nothing is too daunting for creating a good story(cause i do want it to be the best it can be)--bring it on!....*wimper*


This critique contest is a Gold Mine!I got the most incredible feed back that open the gates of clarity for me--like magic.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm at a snails pace --But on track.

Looks like I'm writing monthly posts here with the little time I can muster.
But I'm finished with this round of editing my manuscript.
Today I enter the 250 word challenge on Miss Snark's Secret Agent Contest. I may have a chance --If I can get the text under 250 words. Not easy for a non-techie--So I cut my words even more, for any sneaky ads (which i have no idea how to remove)--Just for a chance at some feed back on this Middle Grade Fiction. I am almost satisfied with the beginning. See it sieved through the eyes of strangers will be, ah, fun.

Also, today-- I begin the Agent search--Query-finished... the fun begins again, but I think it's all fun; the writing, the revision, the editing, the dreaming, the scheming, the fixing and the waiting---maybe Not the waiting --hate waiting. I guess that is something I am meant to work on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I missed the Fool's Day --But every day is a new opportunity to be a Fool

I'm on the journey of editing--and presently at page 90 of the final edit.
My update: I've reworked the beginning of the story. I always felt it was the weakest--kind of an after thought, really since I wrote this Middle Grade fiction from the middle-- outward.

The beginning needed to be in the middle of something --Now my protagonist is, indeed--in action from the start. Reading Susan Bells The Artful Edit, dramatically enhanced my editing powers and opened the joy of editing. Mixing thing up-like making a collage and refitting the pieces, in any which way I choose or reuse. Fun, fun, fun. Now time to get back the story and get 20 pages under my belt for the day. Adios !

Friday, March 25, 2011

With the help of a friend today, I was able to look differently at my Middle Grade fiction and will be forever grateful for her clear critical, experienced thinking.

In a slight panic, I remembered I had notes from over the last few months to use as new eyes and went through my tears of scribbled sheets and post its, making more notes. This time on a Large Legal pad with attached sheets.

I saw that what I was putting in to the build up of the story, was subtle and I intended it to be, but maybe too subtle--the idea was already there and now to make it just a tad more sinister, with the new ideas ( few extra clues) that came together.
The idea was underlying and I was able to realize and confirm this with my notes.

Things are getting clearer-and I was able to TADA--create more tension.

Thanks Isabel !

Monday, February 28, 2011

A new Beginning

The first of March is tomorrow, and today I will clean away the the last of winter and fog of old and unused possibilities.
After a marathon week with my two wild and crazy boys, today, I renew my Middle Grade Agent search. I am realizing that my four rejections, may have something to do with there not being enough of a "hook" included with the ten sample pages I've sent.
I will to will a hook, into the world of Three Points that will raise an eye brow and pull an agent-ing adult into Abegale's world.
I've set up my twitter to collect cool and accepting sounding Agents; following along and reading their whims and accounts of the Middle Grade or YA publishing world. It is very efficient because I can still research publishing on the run or on the road. I wouldn't actually twitter as I was jogging. But I love my very smart phone for this and I can access twitter links with any 5 spare minutes.
Now, What I can really use is a good editing/word/grammar program for Mac--you may already notice this. And I will look into this. Time to edit --I'm feeling nervous. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My discovery and understanding for today, will be in the form of Querying, finding the "right" Agent for this middle Grade fiction. I have spent three years composing 89,000 words, which is too long apparently for a debut novel, especially in this genre. I sent out five submissions yesterday and got a No Thank you immediately-- a short and sweet no, within 3 hours of an email query.

Wow. As i've discovered today, all rejections are not equal (from another's blog-i may link, if i can find it again). The three I have received so far in total, appear not to be form letters, adding kind comments within. It seems, the agents were not-fully in love with the voice of the story. What can i do? I will, onward plow, specifically looking for the agent that, somehow i will know and importantly--they will know, if we're a "good fit."

I will use this blog to track my progress. I have until 3:00 on school days, before i pick up my two sons from school. (they hate after school) There is never enough time: to research, to twitter, to learn to submit-damn i just want to write-- and sing and write my songs and get back to the story of Abegale. One of the other characters is trying to tell me his story, Mr. Miller, the Gulf War veteran. I've already written a sentence for book two. I want to come out of first person and write the POV of some of the other characters--god this is fun.

Of all the creative pursuits in my life: sculpture, painting, singing; Writing has given me limitless potential to create a world of my own making and come alive with the feelings and trials or adventures of the characters, which entertain me.
Ten minutes to spare--gotta run, can't be late.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hello Im on Earth, Alive and kicking ! And here's what i've been doing:

I haven't had any time to work on my Blog, since I had the idea to begin one, last year or so. But I have finally finished writing and editing (for the most part) the YA book i had worked on for over three years--Now i realize it is An Upper Middle Grade Fiction, as there is no sex or violence within. --These teens are far more advanced than I was.
The Story is of, Abegale Anton-Shale, on the cusp of becoming 13, living in rural America anywhere-- in an idyllic setting of lakes and valley's and a Pine Forest, she knows very well. She is one of the primary caregivers of her asthmatic little brother, with her mom gone, working all hours.
She meets her best friend's mysterious new landlady, Mrs. Egremony and it turns out she knew her departed Grandmother, years before she was even born. Abegale also comes to discover who her Nam really was, and finds out more about herself with the healing talents she's inherited from her.
Now Abegale wants to ask Mrs. Egremony some questions, thinking she might give a clue to her disappearance three years ago, while traveling in the Marcahuasi Plateau in Peru, in search of herbs.
Abegale finds a secret herbal healing book and Tarot cards, left behind by her Grandmother--Was this a trail to follow, she wonders and seeks out to know, puzzled by the tarot cards descriptive images, and guided by dreams; while searching for a way to help her brother's asthma and keep him out of the hospital for good.
Abegale suspects a crow is trying to communicate, it seems to be everywhere even in her dreams. And the are deer coming out of the forest, trying to get her attention and bring her back into the place she's nearly abandoned. Her grandmother's cottage is in the woods of Pine Crest and now, to her horror, something unspeakable, has moved into her grandmother's home--her home. With the help of the community and unsuspecting friends, Abegale hatches a plan to rid the town of the intruders.

working title: Abe[Gale Force]